All they wanted was a lemonade stand.

When my kids came to me yesterday afternoon, after a long day of being at home with nothing much to do and the bickering and general unrest that comes along with the last week of summer, and asked to set up a lemonade stand in the front yard, my initial reaction was NO STINKIN’ WAY.

But then I quickly reconsidered and decided it could be a good way to occupy them while I finished up my work.  Besides, after nagging them all morning to find something constructive to do, how could I argue with this entrepreneurial endeavor?

And truth be told, somewhere in the back of my mind were visions of my blog adorned with quaint photos of my kids holding up handmade signs and happily selling lemonade to the neighbors as they fulfill this rite of childhood passage.

Yeah.

Pollyanna called and she wants her rose-colored glasses back.  (That’s for you, June.)

It all started out well enough.  We had a bottle of ReaLemon in the fridge, and the kids discovered long ago that if you add water and a few pounds of sugar, it tastes a lot like lemonade.  (There’s nothing like making your own fruit juice to make you realize how much sugar is in those innocent looking juice boxes.  Yes, I had to go there.)

Of course, upon further investigation, I realized we were out of sugar, and we didn’t have any disposable cups, so I agreed to run out to CVS to get some.

So much for finishing my work.

After our CVS run, we began making our lemonade.  Of course, they wanted to make it themselves.

Cue bickering (them) and nagging (me).

After the lemonade was made, and remnants of sugar and sticky lemon juice covered every inch of my kitchen counters, my son filled a pitcher with ice, and I poured the lemonade over it.  Then I pointed out that at 3:00 in the afternoon, there would be very little traffic coming through the neighborhood, so I convinced them to wait until 5:00 to set up their stand, when people would be coming home from work.

And that’s where things really fell apart.

Not wanting the lemonade to get watered down, I went to strain out the ice, and as I got almost to the end, the lid slipped out, and lemonade and ice went EVERYWHERE.

And mommy lost it.

After my initial outburst of frustration, I managed to get a hold of myself before I totally ruined their project, and I channeled my irritation into some sort of crazy song about lemonade on the floor that ended with us giggling uncontrollably.

It was one of those moments that could have taken a major turn for the worse, and many days it would have, but somehow I managed to salvage it at the last minute and turn lemons into lemonade. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) But it begs the question, why can’t I remember to do that more often? It’s just as easy to laugh as it is to yell, and it’s so much more pleasant. If I could leave my kids with anything in this life besides faith in God, it would be the ability to laugh in the face of frustration. I only wish I could model it more often.

I’d love to tell you that it was all rainbows and butterflies after that, but this is my life after all.

It was about 189 degrees in Philly yesterday, so when they finally set up the picnic table in our driveway with their homemade lemonade in our new red Coleman thermos and the matching red cups we’d picked up earlier in the day (the color coordination was not planned, trust me) they lasted all of about five minutes before they were complaining.

“This is hard.”

“It’s so hot.”

“I’m tired.”

Of course, when I ran out to snap those quaint happy photos I had envisioned, all I got was this.

And this.

And this.

In fact, I’m pretty sure more lemonade was consumed than was sold, which might explain the sugar high that ensued.

Finally people started driving by and ordering lemonade, and the mood changed.

The first people that drove by donated a dollar to the Lemonade Stand Fund.   (I told the kids to just ask for a donation, rather than setting a price and having to deal with making change.)  After that, they had a fairly steady stream of traffic.

And all’s well that ends well. I ended up with my happy pictures after all — a few of them, anyways.  The kids made about $3 each, the thermos was drained of its sugary goodness, and they finally stopped fighting and whining.

And the first day of school is one day closer.

Hallelujah.